A running reunion

Chas Sperry leads the pack at the start of the To Bone & Back race Saturday morning. Sperry and his relay teammates Treyson Sperry, AJ Cross, Alan Borschel and Bridger McCall, completed the 40-mile course in 4:28:44, as team Spaceballs the Running Team.

While some may prefer to have a laid-back birthday, John Lloyd opted to celebrate by competing in one of eastern Idaho’s oldest endurance runs.

Lloyd, a Denver resident originally from Idaho Falls, recently turned 40 years old. He lightheartedly said he is having a mid-life crisis, and what better way to appease it than to run the 40-mile solo division of Saturday’s 24th annual To Bone and Back ultra run for his 40th birthday?

“I decided years ago I was gonna do it for my 40th birthday,” he said. “It’s a lot more fun than a sports car.”

Lloyd, who describes himself as a retired triathlete, won the solo division in 5 hours, 48 minutes, 10 seconds. He had previously competed in the Boston Marathon and Leadville 100, an ultra run in Colorado, but had never done To Bone and Back.

He said he started training in January and decided to plan a visit with his parents in Idaho Falls to coincide with the weekend of the race.

“The goal was to just run as far as I could and then see what happens,” Lloyd said. “I’m just excited to finish the race and I was thankful my body cooperated with me. Winning was an added bonus.”

In the spirit of the homecoming that Lloyd experienced, To Bone and Back yet again brought runners of various backgrounds together to the starting line at Summit Orthopedics. Colleagues formed relay teams, as did current and former area high school cross-country and track runners on summer break.

Sugar-Salem High School cross-country and track coach Brett Hill, who timed Saturday’s race for Vector Timing, said he looks forward to the reunion the race provides. Since 1994, Hill has run on a To Bone and Back relay team all but two years and has had a group of high school athletes compete every year.

“There were probably 10 teams out here with kids who ran for me,” Hill said. “As a coach, it’s fun to see them successful in high school, but it’s great to see kids do what they love (later in life).”

The eight-member Teton Running Team #1 set an all-course record of 3:44.28, the fastest relay time of any division. The previous record of 3:47.52 set in 1997 was by a relay team that included Hill.

While he joked that he was somewhat sad to see the record fall, he added that he was glad the record went to some of his former Firth High School runners.

“They smashed it,” Hill said.

The newest generation of Hill’s athletes were victorious in two divisions. Fittingly named for their Sugar City roots, the Sugar Darlings won the eight-person women’s open relay in 5:24:56 and the Sugar Dudes won the eight-person high school relay in 4:39:18.

The ‘dudes’ were all smiles while savoring post-race complimentary ice cream were Sugar-Salem students Daniel Searcy, Luis Hernandez, Carlos Hernandez, Nate Fogle, Trason Jackson, Taylor Hill and Brennan Anderson.

Saturday’s race was a first for everyone except Luis, who competed in his third To Bone and Back. The incoming senior ran two legs because they were one member short of an eight-person team, and his teammates said he chose the hardest legs.

“I didn’t want them to get lost,” Hernandez said with a laugh. “It worked out really well.”

All seven said they were happy to break the five-hour barrier, and they enjoyed the day that included blasting music in the car between relay legs and the on-course camaraderie.

“Even when we weren’t running (our leg), we were cheering on the team,” said Jackson, an incoming sophomore.

24th annual To Bone and Back division winners (Complete results will publish in Tuesday’s Post Register)

40-mile solo male: John Lloyd 5:48:10

40-mile solo female: Melonie Judy 6:55:10

8-person men’s open relay: Teton Running Team #1 *3:44.28.

8-person women’s open relay: Sugar Darlings 5:24:55

8-person coed relay: Faster than Tar 5:28:28

8-person high school relay: Sugar Dudes 4:39:18

8-person family relay: Core 5:06.01

4-person relay: Mananakbo 4:54:56

2-person relay: Apple Athletic Club 5:04:10

Masters relay: Bon Doc and the Dislocations 5:35:39

5-mile solo male: Preston Littlewood 38:05

5-mile solo female: Lexie Ferrin 47:57

*=overall course record